Job creation is the top priority for U.S. Senate candidate Mark Jacobs, and he said he's impressed with the growth in hiring in Fort Dodge.
''What's going on here in Fort Dodge is a great microcosm for what we need to do in the rest of Iowa and what we need to do nationally,'' the former utility executive-turned-Republican-Senate-hopeful said during a Fort Dodge visit Wednesday.
Jacobs said he recently visited CJ BioAmerica and other new industries in Webster County to learn about their development.
He is proposing a five-point job creation plan with the goal of bringing that kind of growth to the rest of the country. The elements of that plan are:
- Emphasize community colleges and vocational skills.
- Continue to develop domestic energy resources.
- Tackle costly regulations.
- Create tax policy that encourages new investment.
- Reform health care.
The Affordable Care Act, Jacobs said, isn't the health care reform that is needed.
''I think Obamacare is hurting families,'' he said. ''It's translating into reduced work hours, lost wages, higher employee contributions and, in some cases, the outright cancellation of health insurance.''
The country's health care problem is high costs at the ''provider level,'' Jacobs said.
''Obamacare doesn't do anything to address those runaway costs,'' the candidate said.
He proposed to reduce those costs by providing more consumer choices and implementing liability reform.
Jacobs said he's opposed to the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to relax the Renewable Fuels Standard, a move that could impact the production of ethanol.
''I don't support that,'' he said. ''I think that's the wrong direction to go. They're really mandating that we use more oil in our motor fuel mixture. Ethanol has proven that it is a good source, an economic source, of fuel.''
Jacobs, who spent much of his professional career in New York and Texas, dismisses any suggestion that he returned to Iowa only to run for the Senate.
''I grew up in Iowa,'' he said. ''Our family has deep roots in Iowa. It's been the highlight of my life to be back.''
He's competing against radio host Sam Clovis; state Sen. Joni Ernst, of Red Oak; attorney Paul Lunde; former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker; and former Senate aide David Young for the Republican nomination to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat.
U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, of Waterloo, is the only candidate for the Democratic nomination.